The Buffalo Bills are 3-0. It’s a legitimate 3-0, although they have managed to make things interesting for themselves through their first three games. Only problem is, making things interesting is not a recipe for long term NFL success. As the Bills move into a tougher stretch of their schedule, they’ll need better execution and efficiency on offense. Being more explosive and threatening in the running game is one way to achieve that. And while Frank Gore has been great so far, the key to the Buffalo Bills running game going forward will be Devin Singletary.
Why Devin Singletary Is Needed In Buffalo
The Buffalo Bills made noise on Labor Day weekend when they released incumbent starting running back LeSean McCoy. The reason they released McCoy was the play of Devin Singletary in the preseason. He caught the ball out of the backfield, showcased elusiveness, and demonstrated an ability to fight through contact. All of the things a team looks for in a starting running back. The Bills felt confident that with Singletary and free agent addition Frank Gore, they were more than capable at the running back position. When Singletary is on the field, he presents an explosiveness that Gore doesn’t have at this stage in his career. That explosiveness makes Buffalo’s running game a threat, and gives quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills offense balance in their attack.
Devin Singletary Complements Frank Gore
Frank Gore is the fourth leading rusher in NFL history. He adds leadership, toughness, and savvy to the Bills. He’s also 36 years old, and has had two ACL tears and a meniscus tear. At this stage in his career, he is not the bell-cow running back he once was. And that’s fine. That’s not what he was brought in to be.
Gore’s best fit in the Bills offense is getting the tough yards in between the tackles, and using his awareness and experience in situational moments. However, with Singletary, the Bills have a player that can provide chunk plays with his burst and lateral agility. His play in Week one helped turn the game around and gave Buffalo big plays when they needed them. His explosiveness and ability to get free in tight spaces led to a much more dangerous and efficient Bills offense in the second half. In Week two he scored a touchdown that demonstrated his vision and ability to turn the corner with his speed and quickness.
While Frank Gore played well in Week three, the offense missed the chunk-play threat in the run game that Singletary offers. At multiple times in the game their offense sputtered and there were some holes that the offensive line created that could have been taken advantage of had Devin Singletary been in the game. Being able to rotate both of these backs allows the Bills to be multi-dimensional in their play calling. It also allows the offense to create multiple looks and exploit weaknesses. A fresh Frank Gore and Devin Singletary is a multi-faceted running combination capable of doing damage.
Josh Allen Needs Offensive Balance
On the one hand, Josh Allen has played well this year. He’s led two fourth quarter game winning drives, and made plays when the Bills needed them. On the other hand, Allen has turned the ball over at inopportune times and the Bills could easily be 1-2 instead of 3-0. Allen has made progress in his sophomore season, and looks like he has the makings of a franchise quarterback. But he’s not a consistent drop back and pick a defense apart quarterback. At least not yet.
Every offense needs balance. Keeping the defense guessing and making them respect multiple aspects of attack are hallmarks of good offenses. The Bills need a solid running game. More importantly, Josh Allen needs a solid running game. If defenses have to respect the run, it opens up play action passing and makes defenders hesitate in their reads. Both of those things are helpful to an offense. And considering the speed and quickness the Bills now have at the wide receiver position, any hesitation on defense can be lethal. Consider that last year, with no offensive weapons and a horrible offensive line, Josh Allen’s completion percentage was 52.8% overall. His completion percentage off of play action with that same lack of weapons, and that same horrible offensive line, was 62.2% during last year. Big difference.
Knowing that there is a running back in the backfield that can break off big runs and make something out of nothing, keeps a defense honest. An honest defense means the offense has a game planning advantage. Plus, it’s nice to be able to hand the ball off or dump the ball down to a running back and let him get an easy four or six yards every touch.
What It All Means For Devin Singletary And The Buffalo Bills
A healthy and active Devin Singletary will pay dividends for the Buffalo Bills offense. He’s a playmaker with burst and quickness, and having someone that like to give the ball to is never a bad thing. With Singletary in the lineup, the Bills can simultaneously add a needed dynamic to their offense and spell Frank Gore. A one-two punch of Singletary and Gore adds layers to the offense. Adding those layers to the offense gives Josh Allen the support and structure he needs at this stage in his career. And that means more table breaking for Bills fans.